|Publication number||US8005483 B2|
|Application number||US 10/976,022|
|Publication date||Aug 23, 2011|
|Filing date||Oct 27, 2004|
|Priority date||Oct 27, 2004|
|Also published as||US8483710, US20060089157, US20110299494|
|Publication number||10976022, 976022, US 8005483 B2, US 8005483B2, US-B2-8005483, US8005483 B2, US8005483B2|
|Inventors||Steven M. Casey, Shawn M. Casey|
|Original Assignee||Qwest Communications International Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (23), Non-Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (3), Classifications (16), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application is related to U.S. application Ser. No. 10/976,015, entitled “User-to-User Data Relay Systems and Methods,” filed contemporaneously herewith and assigned to the assignee of the present invention, the complete disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates generally to providing users with requested resources, and more specifically, to systems and methods for providing mobile users with requested resources in one or more network regions.
The growth of wireless networks has extended far beyond cellular telephone service. As these networks continue to evolve, the ability to transmit and receive greater amounts of data will be desired. For example, it may be desirable for users to download a movie from a server located at the Blockbuster® store for later viewing that night. Currently, the user must stop at a physical Blockbuster® location to rent the movie in VHS or DVD format. Further, as networks evolve from large broadcast networks to micro and pico cell systems, data fulfillment approaches may need to be modified or developed anew.
The present invention is generally related to providing users with requested resources, and more specifically, to systems and methods for providing mobile users with requested resources. The present invention will be particularly useful for satisfying resource requests from mobile users when the users migrate between multiple cells or regions in a network. The present invention accomplishes some of the methods of the present invention by calculating a mobile vector for the mobile user and associating the mobile vector with one or more network regions to facilitate delivery of the requested resources.
In one embodiment, a method of responding to a resource request of a mobile user includes receiving first and second location indicators for the mobile user, with each of the first and second location indicators having a time associated therewith. The method includes calculating a mobile vector of the mobile user using the first and second location indicators, and associating the mobile vector with a first network region and a second network region. The method further includes sending a first portion of the requested resource to a first storage device in the first network region, sending a second portion of the requested resource to a second storage device in the second network region, sending the first portion to the user when the user is in the first network region, and sending the second portion to the user when the user is in the second network region. In some aspects, the first and/or second portions are sent directly to the mobile user, bypassing the storage device(s). In this manner, the requested resource is sent to the user even when the user is in or passes through more than one network region.
The requested resource can be most any data package or content, including without limitation a movie, a game, an email message, a file, a music selection, other data packages and the like. The request may also be for a real time delivery of the data package. In one aspect, the first and second location indicators each comprises a latitude, a longitude and a time stamp, and alternatively may also include an altitude and/or a direction.
In one aspect, calculating the mobile vector includes calculating a speed and a direction of travel of the user based on the first and second location indicators and the times associated therewith. In some aspects, the mobile vector is associated with the first and second network regions by determining a predicted path of the mobile user, and mapping the predicted path onto one or more regions of a multi-region network, such as a wireless network. The predicted mobile user position may be a stationary position, a moving position, or some combination thereof. In other aspects, the mobile vector is associated with the first and second network regions by comparing the calculated mobile vector with a known prior path of the mobile user.
In one aspect, calculating the mobile vector includes determining the predicted mobile user position portion by comparing the known mobile user position portion with a map. In another aspect, calculating the mobile vector includes determining the predicted mobile user position portion by comparing the known mobile user position portion with a known prior path of the mobile user.
In one aspect, the first and second portions of the requested resource are calculated using the mobile vector and a data rate at which the mobile user can receive data. The calculating also may depend at least in part on predicted first and second lengths of time the mobile user will be in the first and second network regions, respectively. In this manner, the mobile user receives portions of the requested resource from one or more network regions as the user resides in or passes through the region(s). In some aspects, the mobile vector is recalculated periodically, continuously, or the like, such as by receiving a plurality of location indicators for or from the mobile user. In this manner, in one aspect the predicted path of the mobile user can be updated. The mobile user also may send one or more acknowledgments confirming receipt of the first and second portions of the requested resource. In some aspects, some of the first portion of the requested resource may additionally be sent to the user when the mobile user is in the second network region.
In one aspect of the present invention, at least part of the second portion of the requested resource is sent to a storage device in the second network region before the mobile user arrives therein. The second portion is then sent to the mobile user when the mobile user is in the second network region. The storage device may comprise a cache, a server or the like, and may reside at a fixed location or may be mobile.
The present invention further includes mobile devices for connecting to a remote server such as through a wireless network, and computer readable medium containing code for performing the methods of the present invention. In one embodiment, a mobile device according to the present invention includes a processor coupled to a memory and to a Wi-Fi connection. The device has a location determination device, such as a global positioning system (GPS) receiver. In one embodiment, the memory includes code for sending a resource request to the wireless network via the Wi-Fi connection, and code for providing the network a device location using the location determination device. The memory further includes code for receiving a first portion of the requested resource when the mobile device is in a first network region, and for receiving a second portion of the requested resource when the mobile device is in a second network region. In some aspects, the mobile device memory further includes code for sending at least one acknowledgment to the network confirming receipt of the requested resource.
The present invention further provides computer systems for facilitating data transfer to a mobile user. In one embodiment, the system includes a processor coupled to a database and to a computer readable medium. The computer readable medium includes code for performing various methods of the present invention, including receiving resource requests of a mobile user, receiving first and second location indicators for the mobile user, calculating a mobile vector of the mobile user, associating the mobile vector with first and second network regions, calculating first and second portions of the requested resource, and sending the first and second portions to storage devices in the first and second network regions, respectively, for delivery to the mobile user when the user is in the corresponding network region.
The summary provides only a general outline of the embodiments according to the present invention. Many other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description, the appended claims and the accompanying drawings.
With reference to
In one embodiment, mobile user 100 wants to receive a resource while mobile user 100 is either stationary or traveling in their vehicle. This requested resource may include most any data package, including without limitation a movie, a game, an email message, a file, a music selection, an audio file, a weather or traffic report, a web page, or the like. In one embodiment, mobile user 100 desires a real time delivery of the data package. This request may occur if mobile user 100 wants to see or hear real time traffic reports while traveling through a busy metropolitan area. The requested resource may reside on any number of systems, represented herein by a series of caches. More specifically, a first cache 150, a second cache 152, up to an Xth cache 154 may contain the requested resource. Further, more than one cache together may contain the requested resource. For example, if mobile user 100 requests a web page, the web page content may be stored on cache 150 while advertisements, such as banner advertisements and the like contracted to be displayed with the web page, may be stored on cache 152. In this example, the requested resource is provided by caches 150 and 152.
The requested resource may be delivered to mobile user 100 in a variety of ways within the scope of the present invention. For example, in one embodiment an omni-directional Wi-Fi device 130 transmits the requested resource in all directions extending a prescribed radius from device 130. The prescribed radius may be, for example, one hundred (100) meters in a particular embodiment. In one embodiment, Wi-Fi device 130 receives the requested resource from cache 150 by way of the Internet 120 and, if necessary, a modem 132. The requested resource further may be stored in a cache 134 associated with Wi-Fi connection device 130. In this manner, additional requests for the same resource, such as by subsequent mobile users requesting the same traffic report, may be responded to by transmitting the requested resource as stored in cache 134 without needing to download the resource from cache 150. In one embodiment, the location of Wi-Fi device 130 is known, and may comprise a latitude, a longitude and/or an altitude.
Alternatively, a directional Wi-Fi connection device 140 is used. Generally, such connection devices have greater range, albeit in a particular direction as opposed to all directions. In one embodiment, directional Wi-Fi connection device has a range of about one (1) to five (5) miles, and in a particular embodiment, about three (3) miles. Again, the requested resource may be received at connection device 140 by way of the Internet 120 through a modem 142. Further, the requested resource may be stored in a cache 144 before, during, or after transmission of the requested resource to mobile user 100. A switch 146, which may be an ethernet switch or the like, couples cache 144 with connection device 140 and modem 142. In one embodiment, the location of Wi-Fi device 140 is known, and may comprise a latitude, a longitude and/or an altitude.
In one embodiment of the present invention, a vector controller 160 operates to determine which transmission or connection device 130, 140 should be used to transmit the requested resource to mobile user 100. In the event mobile user 100 is stationary, mobile user 100 will typically receive the requested resource through the transmission device corresponding to the network cell or region in which mobile user 100 resides. However, if mobile user 100 is indeed mobile, mobile user 100 may pass out of the network region or cell before mobile user 100 can receive the requested resource. Thus, in a particular embodiment of the present invention, vector controller 160 operates to direct the transmission of the requested resource to one or more network cells or regions for delivery to mobile user 100, as further described below in conjunction with subsequent figures.
Vector controller 160 may be coupled to an interface device, that in one embodiment is a computer 162. Computer 162 may include a variety of input/output devices, including a graphical user interface (GUI) in one embodiment. Further, in one embodiment, a vector controller 164 may be coupled to a cache or storage medium 168. In this particular embodiment, cache 168 may contain stored user information that, in some embodiments, will be useful for determining which cells mobile user 100 will be entering, thus anticipating a delivery path of the requested resource. Again, vector controller 164 may be coupled to an input device such as a computer 166. A router 170 and a switch 180, such as an ethernet switch or the like, operate to connect the desired vector controller 160, 164 to transmission devices 130, 140 by way of the Internet 120, or other network. Further, vector controllers 160, 164 will be dynamically linked to caches 150-154. In this manner, controller 160, 164 can determine the size of the requested resource prior to transmission thereof to mobile user 100 as further detailed below. In one embodiment, vector controller 160, 164 is a software based controller, having calculator functionality for calculating transmission data rates to user 100, user speed and location, determining which network regions user will be traveling in, and the like. Additional details on some embodiments of vector controllers 160, 164 are discussed in conjunction with
Turning now to
In one embodiment, mobile user 100 further provides a second location indicator to vector controller 160 at a second time (T2). Again, this location indicator may include a latitude, a longitude, an altitude, and/or a time stamp. By receiving two location indicators having the designated characteristics, the speed and direction of travel of mobile user 100 may be estimated. In a particular embodiment, this estimation or calculation produces a vector associated with mobile user 100. In one embodiment, the mobile user vector is calculated by vector controller 160. In a particular embodiment, vector controller 160 receives a plurality of location indicators to update the mobile user vector. The plurality of location indicators may be a continuous stream or nearly continuous stream of location indicators for mobile user 100. In one embodiment, the location indicators are provided in a prescribed time interval (e.g., every 5 seconds, 10 seconds, or the like). In another embodiment, the location indicators are provided to vector controller 160 in an irregular pattern. In one embodiment, instead of two GPS readings, a single GPS reading is received and used in conjunction with a digital compass to determine the mobile user's location and direction of travel.
Vector controller 160 monitors resource requests and determines the size of the requested resource. In a particular embodiment, the resource request initiated by mobile user 100 includes a data rate at which mobile user 100 can receive data. Vector controller 160 may further receive information, or compute data rates for the transmission of data from remote server 150 to one or more storage devices positioned in network regions or cells in the general vicinity of mobile user 100. Vector controller 160 determines how to transmit the requested resource to mobile user 100 by using the mobile vector of mobile user 100, the size of the resource requested, and the associated data rate(s) available for transmission through various portions of the network.
In a particular embodiment, mobile user 100 resides in or passes through a network having a plurality of cells or regions. The use of the term “cell” is not limited to a cell tower location. In one embodiment, network regions include regions or portions of a network accessible by a particular access point. In one embodiment, such as shown in
In one embodiment, vector controller 160 uses the location indicators and the times associated therewith to calculate the mobile vector for mobile user 100. The mobile vector may include the speed and direction of travel of mobile user 100 and may be updated periodically or on a continuous or nearly continuous basis. In a particular embodiment, the calculated mobile vector includes a known location of mobile user 100. For example, this may comprise comparing the locations of mobile user 100 at times T1 and T2, and extrapolating a travel path between the two locations. Calculating the known portion of the mobile vector may also include comparing the point positions provided by first and second location indicators received for mobile user 100 and comparing those indicators with a street map or the like. Vector controller 160 has a mapping function or mapping database in one embodiment.
In another embodiment, vector controller 160 calculates a predicted path of mobile user 100. This may be accomplished in a number of ways within the scope of the present invention. For example, in one embodiment vector controller 160 predicts the direction of travel and speed of mobile user 100 to remain constant relative to the prior two or more mobile user positions provided by the location indicators. This approach may be particularly accurate in the event vector controller 160 receives nearly continuous updates of the mobile user 100 position. In another embodiment, vector controller 160 calculates the predicted position of mobile user 100 by comparing the known mobile vector portion for mobile user 100 with a street map. This will be particularly useful in the event mobile user 100 is traveling by car, plane, train, bus, motorcycle, or other vehicle and uses known streets, roadways, rail lines, or airways. In this manner, vector controller 160 can determine on which streets mobile user 100 is traveling, and predict the continued course of mobile user 100. In another embodiment, vector controller 160 has a database associated therewith for storing prior known paths of travel for mobile user 100. For example, mobile user 100 may take the same one or few streets while traveling between home and work. In one embodiment, the database associated with vector controller 160 stores these known paths for a particular mobile user, associating the known paths to mobile user 100 by a designated user identification or other mobile user indicator. In this embodiment, vector controller 160 uses one or more location indicators for mobile user 100 to determine which path mobile user 100 is expected to be traveling. In another embodiment, vector controller 160 may assume mobile user 100 is on the path corresponding to the route typically traveled on a particular day of the week. For example, if the resource request is received from mobile user 100 on a Monday, and mobile user 100 travels to work on the same path on Mondays, vector controller 160 can predict the path of mobile user 100 for at least a period of time.
By predicting and/or calculating the direction and/or speed of mobile user 100, vector controller 160 can control the transmission of the requested resource from database or remote server 150 to mobile user 100. More specifically, in tone embodiment, the requested resource is broken into one or more segments or portions to be transmitted to mobile user 100 as mobile user 100 travels along a predicted path. For the embodiment shown in
As shown in the example in
In one embodiment, the portions of mobile user's travel between network regions may be used for the confirmation of the receipt by mobile user 100 of portions of the requested resource. In this manner, vector controller 160 may direct portions of the requested resource to be re-transmitted by subsequent network regions in the event mobile user 100 failed to receive, or did not receive all of the portions of the requested resource sent to mobile user 100 while the user passes through earlier network regions. In another embodiment, portions of the requested resource are not sent to all anticipated network regions through which mobile user 100 will pass. In this manner, vector controller 160 may control the distribution of the requested resource to accommodate network congestion or other factors that may slow the transmission of the requested resource to mobile user 100. For example, the first portion of the requested resource may be sent to network region 220 and the second portion of the requested resource may be sent to network region 240 for subsequent receipt by mobile user 100.
A particular embodiment of the present invention is depicted in
Turning now to
In a particular embodiment, a mobile user disposed within parking structure 400 requests a resource that is already contained in cache 420. For example, the mobile user may request a resource previously requested by another mobile user within parking structure 400 and stored in cache 420. In one embodiment, the mobile user may be requesting the download of a recently-released movie in lieu of going to a video rental store such as Blockbuster®. The requested resource or movie is downloaded to the mobile user while the mobile user's vehicle is parked within structure 400. In some embodiments, the resources stored on cache 420 have time stamps or other features that limit the number of times they can be copied, the number of times they can be viewed, and the like. For example, if a single user downloads a particular movie while in parking structure 400, and the movie is saved on cache 420, the movie resource may be deleted from cache 420 after a designated period, such as one hour, one day, or the like. In this manner, the server or service that provides access to the requested resource (e.g., movie) maintains some control over the movie's distribution. Other Digital Rights Management (DRM) techniques also may be used within the scope of the present invention to control use of the requested resource by mobile users.
In a particular embodiment, mobile user 100 downloads requested resources for subsequent viewing at work or home. In the embodiment shown in
In another embodiment, real time viewing of or listening to the resource is desired, such as when the requested resource is a weather report, traffic report, or the like. Further, in another embodiment, mobile user 100 is traveling interstate or intrastate and desires to have a movie, for example, viewed by occupants of the mobile user's vehicle. Mobile user 100 downloads the movie and displays it on appropriate appliances within mobile user's vehicle. For example, DVD screens and other viewing apparatus are available from many vehicle manufacturers or as after market products so vehicle occupants can watch movies, play video games, or the like. In this particular embodiment, a desired movie is downloaded for viewing during travel in mobile user's vehicle.
While the present invention is described in conjunction with particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate that other embodiments also exist within the scope of the present invention. For example, stationary caches 212, 222, 232, and 242 described in conjunction with
In one embodiment, the mobile vector is updated on a regular basis. In this manner, changes in a mobile user's direction, speed, and the like can be factored into the mobile vector calculation. Similarly, the association of the mobile vector with desired network regions, and the calculation of portions of the data requested can be updated. For example, if a mobile user is stuck in traffic, additional portions or segments of the requested resource may be downloaded to the mobile user by way of the same cache, instead of pre-populating caches in other network regions that would be otherwise needed if the mobile user were traveling at a normal rate of speed. Further, monitoring the mobile user position and updating the mobile vector and its association with the network regions can further accommodate alternative routes taken by the user, intermediate stops of the user (such as stoplights or to run errands), as well as the changing speeds of the mobile user. Additionally, the above-noted changes or variations to a mobile user's direction and speed may be useful for calculating which parts of the requested resource have been received by the mobile user. For example, if the initial vector calculation determines that the requested resource needs to be split across three network regions, but this calculation occurs when the mobile user is traveling at a slow rate of speed, the calculation may need to be updated in the event traffic breaks free or the mobile user is able to increase the rate of speed such that mobile user will pass through the three network regions more quickly and not receive the full requested resource.
Turning now to
Vector controller 600 calculates or tracks the movement of mobile users and data through a network, and facilitates the fulfillment of resource requests by acting as a centralized or decentralized locator application. In one embodiment, vector controller 600 resolves user requests for resources or content by matching the user with the closest or least cost fulfillment options. The cost may be determined by network costs, network metrics (e.g., the number of transmission segments between the user and the resource storage location), and/or content transfer pricing. Vector controller 600 determines the mobile user's movement through the network portions or cells, and facilitates the pre-positioning of content at various transmission locations so it is available when the user arrives. The time stamps on the updated GPS locations for the mobile user and the time between location updates, helps vector controller 600 to determine how fast the user is moving between caches, network regions, and/or wireless access points. System data transfer speed, that may include the ability of the mobile user to receive data as well as the transmission rates between various points within the network, helps allow vector controller 600 to determine the size of data packages to send to the mobile user. In one embodiment, each data segment or package may comprise any number of TCP/IP packets. Other packet formats also may be used within the scope of the present invention.
Vector controller 600 further includes a user data server 620 coupled to a database 625. In one embodiment, user data server 620 and database 625 store information related to users who have access to the system. This information may include user names, passwords, access charges, user profiles, preferences, and the like. In one embodiment, database 625 further includes data related to the mobile user's predicted or past travel paths. For example, as previously noted, if a mobile user typically drives one or two routes between work and home, this information may be stored and updated periodically within database 625. In one embodiment, database 625 will link to a content tracking database 635 that is coupled to a content packaging engine 630. Content tracking database 635 helps track which caches or servers within a network have content, and act on user requests for the content. Database 635 may further store the content or resources retrieved on behalf of the mobile users. In one embodiment, database 635 contains a list, record, or table of resources sent to user X, which user X may subsequently make available to other mobile users as described further below in conjunction with
Vector controller 600 may further include one or more user interfaces 640. In one embodiment, interface 640 is used for configuration control. Vector controller 600 configuration may be performed through, for example, a web-based graphical user interface (GUI) by way of a web browser or similar interface. In addition, a CLI interface may be included. In a particular embodiment, web servers are supported on all components 610-640 to support configuration changes to the various components of vector controller 600. Communication between the servers associated with vector controller 600 may be accomplished via eXtensible Markup Language (XML), or similar data passing languages. Interfaces 640, in one embodiment, support user-to-user and computer-to computer interfaces to automate the recommendation of content as well as to support content conversion functions. Database engines 620, 630 may include MySQL server, Oracle database servers, or the like. In this manner, vector controller 600 helps coordinate the transmission of requested data from various data storage locations throughout the network to a user by sending the data segments directly to the user or by pre-populating various cache locations so that the mobile user can receive portions of the requested resource as the mobile user enters network regions serviced by the various cache locations.
In another embodiment as shown in
In another embodiment, the mobile user cache 452 described in conjunction with
In one embodiment, systems and methods of the present invention provide for the management of resources or content. In the embodiment shown in
A second mobile user 720 is depicted in
In the embodiment of
In an alternative embodiment depicted in
In one embodiment, as indicated by arrow 736, mobile user 730 transmits either the requested content back to vector controller 750 or provides a response to vector controller 750 indicating that mobile user 730 has the resource requested by mobile user 710. Transmission of the requested resource from mobile user 730 to mobile user 710 may then occur by vector controller 750 controlling the routing of the resource through an intermediate network, to transmission device 740 and on to mobile user 710.
In one embodiment, vector controller 750 updates database 755 with a record of content provided by mobile user 730. In this manner, mobile user 730 may receive a credit or some other benefit as a result of user 730's willingness to provide requested content to mobile user 710. The benefits may include a wide range of items or services desirable to mobile users including, without limitation, free downloads of desired content, or the like. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the user-to-user transmission embodiments described in conjunction with
Notwithstanding the above description, it should be recognized that many other systems, functions, methods, and combinations thereof are possible in accordance with the present invention. Thus, although the invention is described with reference to specific embodiments and figures thereof, the embodiments and figures are merely illustrative, and not limiting of the invention. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be determined solely by the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||455/456.1, 709/201, 455/440, 455/432.1, 709/203, 709/202, 455/441|
|International Classification||H04W36/00, H04W24/00, H04W4/00|
|Cooperative Classification||H04L67/327, H04L67/18, H04L67/04|
|European Classification||H04L29/08N3, H04L29/08N17, H04L29/08N31Y|
|Jan 27, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: QWEST COMMUNICATIONS INTERNATIONAL INC., COLORADO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CASEY, STEVEN M.;CASEY, SHAWN M.;REEL/FRAME:015616/0945
Effective date: 20041104
|May 29, 2012||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Feb 12, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4